Numeracy skills slipping in primaries
Attainment in numeracy has fallen significantly in the past two years at both P4 and P7 level, according to the latest results from the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy. The figures, published this week, show that 69 per cent of pupils in P4 performed well or very well in 2013, compared with 76 per cent in 2011. At P7, the percentage of those reaching that level dropped from 72 per cent in 2011 to 66 per cent in 2013. Just over 40 per cent of students did well or very well in S2 last year - a similar proportion to 2011.
Cash boost for language plans
The Scottish government has announced an investment of pound;1 million to encourage language learning in primary schools. This will support the 1+2 policy, which aims to get every child to start a second language in P1 and a third no later than P5. The funds will be allocated to local authorities to support schools. Alasdair Allan, minister for learning and Scotland's languages, said that excellent work was already happening in classrooms every day. But he added that it was "absolutely imperative that we do all we can to prioritise language learning in schools" in order to meet the government's longer-term ambitions and to "prevent the slight, but current, reduction in the uptake of languages".
Lights, camera, learning
A new programme was launched last week to engage Scottish students with learning through cinema. Education charity Into Film is offering a variety of activities including themed resources and assistance with setting up film clubs. Out of school, pupils also have the chance to meet industry insiders, attend festivals and produce their own films. The organisation's Scotland ambassador, Oscar-winning film-maker Kevin Macdonald, encouraged young people not to be daunted by the prospect of creating their own pieces. Perth-born Hollywood star Ewan McGregor (pictured, left) also lent support to the programme, stating that it was "brilliant" that children could be "exposed to different worlds" through cinema.
Parent group demands new complaints system
Calls have been made for the creation of a new body to handle complaints regarding the education of children in Scottish schools. The Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC) said that the current system was a "slow, painful and labyrinthine process" and that a new independent education tribunal service based on the Additional Support Needs Tribunal would be the best way to handle concerns that could not be resolved by local authorities. The suggestion formed part of the group's consultation response to proposed changes to the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, which will put the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman in charge of complaints.
Teacher struck off for indecent child images
A computing and mathematics teacher has been struck off the Scottish teaching register for possessing indecent photographs of children. Iain Graham, who taught at Strathaven Academy in Lanarkshire between December 2005 and January 2011, was removed from the General Teaching Council for Scotland's register after the panel was satisfied he had held and actively sought indecent photographs of children. The panel heard from a police witness that Mr Graham had explained his viewing of the images as part of his role as a moderator on an adult pornographic website.